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After growing up with two Shepherds as a kid, we broke down and got one, and she has been a mixed bag of good and bad, but at times the bad seems to overwhelm the good and I am still up in the air as to keep her or give her back to the breeder.

She is healthy and beautiful, and she shows absolutely no aggression toward people or animals, no fear of anything. We wanted a pretty dog and we have lots of kids that come to our house so we wanted a dog that would be fine with people. So we did get what we wanted on these points.

The bad, though, is that this dog is extremely dominant. Though she doesn't try to intentionally bite people to hurt them, she mouths everyone and plays rough with the puppies in her class. She doesn't respect anyone really in the family except for me, whom she knows is alpha but doesn't really like it. She hasn't exactly bonded with me and shows no desire to please me. In the wild dogs that don't learn the pack structure don't survive--so luckily she is owned by humans as she would be thrown out of a pack. She will work for treats but even this is limited in its application. Thus she is very hard to train. Shepherds are supposed to be smart, but she is the worst dog in the puppy class. Housetraining is terrible. At this point she should not have any accidents but continues to do so, and we have crate trained her from the time she got home. We leave her confined unless we are watching but she will do stuff right in front of our face, not caring whether she gets praised or scolded. Never seen such an indifferent dog. She seems determined to do whatever the heck she wants regardless of rewards or punishments.

I work with her everyday but she is making little progress. I am thinking of getting a shock collar and maybe find a different trainer who specializes in dogs that won't train well.
 

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How old is your pup? How long have you had her? Just from reading this post she sounds young (puppy class). It takes a long time to train a dog especially one at a young age. Untill we know a little bit more about age, length owned etc its hard to give good advice other then keep trying, exercise her alot, and keep bonding, find things she likes as rewards instead of treats you say don't always work.
 

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First of all, I would get rid of this whole dominant, lack of respect train of thought. She's a puppy, puppies use their mouths to play, especially GSD puppies. Search the board for the bite inhibition threads, these will really help you learn how to handle this- but just know it's a completely normal trait of a GSD!

What kind of treats are you using? Is she hungry when you are training? You might need to use super rewarding treats like stinky cheese or liver, and train when she is hungry (before meals). Please do not resort to a shock collar for a puppy.
 

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My goodness, how old is this little devil? What ever you do, don't give up the ship, if she is young, she is feeling her way around, has to learn the ropes so to speak, they do test you but be consistant. I have a "BRAT" that is 6 1/2 mos old. His problem is play, play, play.
Don't give up, don't lose your cool, that makes them act crazier, good luck and love her.
 

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Don't know how old your dog is but Stella was very mouthy when she was younger. They are known as land sharks for a reason! I was at my wit's end with all the biting and mouthing. The more I tried to correct her the crazier she became! Everyone has to find what works for their puppy but for Stella it was saying over and over....don't bite the mommy, while putting toys in her mouth instead of my body, and calming her down my rubbing her belly. This was done over and over and over... Now at almost 15 months she has a soft mouth when playing with me.
Stella needs to be trained when hungry and I need to keep some really high value treats for that purpose. Something she gets only for training. Liverwurst is one of her favorites.
I remember wishing Stella was housebroken sooner than she was. I felt like so many other dogs were housebroken before her! But every dog goes at their own pace and a lot of the time it was me not watching her close enough. Happy to say that she is 100% housebroken. Not one accident...even when she had giardia and her poop was like water!!!! If you can teach your dog to go to the door when she needs to go out, it might help.
 

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I didn't think anything until I took her to puppy class and the teacher said, "At this point no one should have any accidents" and everybody in the class except for me claimed that their pup was housebroken.

As for the shock collar, I don't want to have to resort to it and right now I can't afford it, but I will have to do something if she can't learn to do what I say for her own good. My dad told me to be careful, because he used a prong collar on our big male and regrets it in retrospect, says it will break her spirit, but after the crap she's put us through a little spirit breaking might be what's in order. I'm going to play this puppy class out and then try to find a different dog trainer before I do it.
 

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How old is your puppy? And like I said before, every dog is different. Make sure you rule out any medical reasons for not being housebroken too.
I find that a lot of people claim a lot of things about their dogs, and you just can't believe everyone.
I don't believe you should be "breaking her spirit". She sounds like a normal puppy to me.
 

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To be honest, your dog sounds like a normal GSD puppy! Please read through this thread first: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/puppy-behavior/85888-puppy-biting-teaching-bite-inhibition.html

I, also, was very worried about my pup's biting when we first brought her home, and it wasn't until I found this forum and read through all the threads on "landshark" puppies that I realized it is normal behavior for GSD puppies. At 4 months old, your dog is still teething and will continue to be mouthy for a little while yet, most likely. Every time she mouths or bites you, redirect her with a chew toy. Every time. You can also buy some bitter apple spray and squirt her one time in the mouth when she goes to bite you. She will learn very quickly that the spray bottle is not a good thing! (My girl, Ava, backs down now as soon as she sees the bottle, so no spraying is even necessary!) But, it will get better with age, especially if you constantly redirect her now. Ava just turned 5 months old last week, and she is biting and mouthing a lot less.

I would highly recommend you NOT use a shock or prong collar on a 4-month-old puppy. Your dog is just being a rambunctious puppy, and to physically punish her in a more severe or aggressive manner for that could actually end up doing more harm than good in the long run.
 

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You've got to have patience with your sweet girl. GSD puppies are very challenging to raise.
Are you giving her treats or praise when she potties outside? That is just as important as telling her no when she goes inside. Your dog isn't dominant-she's just being a puppy.
 

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Your dog is only 4 months old.

It does get better after they finish teething, but at this point she sounds like a normal GSD puppy. Training is supposed to be fun, fun, fun, and good things should come from you.

At this point, she has a very short attention span and all she wants to do is play. Give it some time. It will be worth it.
 

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I didn't think anything until I took her to puppy class and the teacher said, "At this point no one should have any accidents" and everybody in the class except for me claimed that their pup was housebroken.
I have to say I don't much care for your trainer. It's a lousy trainer that says, "Your dog should be doing X, and if your dog doesn't do X you're an incompetent owner."

Find a better trainer.
 

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My advice would be to put away any "expectations" and love your dog the way she is. She's not your past dogs, she's herself.

I agree with Emoore. Find a different trainer.
 

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If she is only about 4 mos, definetly a puppy, I thought until Frank was about 9 mos old I'd never be able to just pet him because every time I put my hand down it went in his mouth. His mouth was always open and whatever was near went in it first.
Pups at this age need consistancy, more then dominatation in my point of veiw, they need to learn the outcome is the same no matter what they try to do, and that they must do something to get something NILIF. Start small and work up.
Hang in there, the work you put in to her will be well worth it in the end, somedays you may doubt you'll ever make progress, but the work you put into her will show in the end.
 

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My advice would be to put away any "expectations" and love your dog the way she is. She's not your past dogs, she's herself.

I agree with Emoore. Find a different trainer.
I agree as well...preferably a club or GSD group.
Sounds like my kind of dog. :)
She's just a baby and learning the world! :wub:
 

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I didn't think anything until I took her to puppy class and the teacher said, "At this point no one should have any accidents" and everybody in the class except for me claimed that their pup was housebroken.
The solution to that is easy... just claim yours is housebroken too! I can almost promise you that half of your class is lying, or don't understand what is really going on.

The reality is that owners are housebroken long before puppies are. If you are home with your pup all of the time, and can keep an eye on it, it will not have any accidents at a VERY young age. That doesn't mean it is housebroken though. It means you have become adept at reading the signs and can get her outside in time... that's not the same thing.

German Shepherds ARE smart, and they DO learn correct potty behavior... and until they do, it is up to you to set them up for success. You need to watch her carefully, and take her out at all the normal "go times" (e.g. after play, after sleeping, after eating, etc). Every time you take her out, and she goes, give her your command (mine is "Good Outside"). I still say that to my pup whenever I see him going outside. I'd say that he is housebroken now (at 16 weeks) because he sleeps through the night without needing to go, and hasn't had an accident in quite awhile -- even going to the door to get out... but I would not be shocked or dismayed if I wake up tomorrow to find a puddle. It happens. He's still young. And every dog is different.

But this concerns me:

My dad told me to be careful, because he used a prong collar on our big male and regrets it in retrospect, says it will break her spirit
The proper use of a prong collar will NOT break a GSD's spirit. In fact, the prong collar is more humane than the choke collar, IMHO. But you have to use it right. If you use the prong collar to yank and crank the dog, that's a different story. I don't want to be insulting, but I am concerned that no one has taught you the right way to train a dog. That's not your fault... but if you don't do something to change that, it will be bad for you, and worse for your dog. Your dog is depending on you!

Put the e-collar (shock collar) out of your mind for now. They can be great training tools, but the chance of misusing them is huge. They are NOT designed to simply shock the dog into submission! I would say that you need none of those yet.

What you need to do is handle puppydom. Then move on to training issues.

First thing I would do if I were you would be to get a subscription to BowWow Flix (BOWWOW). It's like Netflix for dog training videos. Then get some good DVDs on basic obedience. It doesn't sound like you are the clicker and positive reward type of person... so, I would say get Leerburg's (Leerburg Dog Training)basic obedience DVD. Even he cautions against yank and crank methods.

As for the dominant and Alpha thing -- IMHO this is greatly overstated, especially in puppies. So many people think that if you convince your dog you are bigger and badder than she is that she'll naturally obey everything you say -- this is so untrue.

As for the biting... the first line of defense against biting is: Wear her out! A tired puppy is a good puppy.

Take her on walks... Wears her out, while asserting your authority at the same time.

Check out the links on the Flirt pole. That is a great way of wearing a puppy out.

Crate Train her (mind you, I am not saying lock her in a crate for 8 hours a day so you don't have to deal with her... I am saying crate TRAIN her.) A dog who sleeps in a crate RARELY has housebreaking problems. Again -- DO NOT just put her in a crate and forget her... you need to build up time in the crate, and never crate her more than four or five hours at a time. That means that if she is sleeping in the crate, you should expect to get up with her once a night to let her out.

When she is crate trained, and properly exercised, then the other tricks you read on here will start to work. But if you don't exercise her enough, no amount of redirection is going to work.

When our little pup can't control his biting, he finds himself in a room by himself (usually we simply leave him there and shut the door behind us.) Not for long... just a minute or two, then try it again... after a time or two alone, he realizes that biting his playmates results in him left alone, and he doesn't like that at all.

I would say that the problem is not your GSD. It is unreasonable expectations. And as for your puppy class -- that's the problem with them... so many are run by people who just don't know what they are talking about... and especially they do not understand the concept of HIGH DRIVE German Shepherds.

Here is the good news: A high Drive German Shepherd dog is one of the truly remarkable gifts you can ever have. The bad news is: In order to get to a High Drive German Shepherd dog, you will have to live through a High Drive German Shepherd puppy.

But you can do it....

I promise you, it is so worth it!
 

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I am thinking of getting a shock collar and maybe find a different trainer who specializes in dogs that won't train well.
Put away the idea of a shock collar for now. I still don't know how old this dog is, but I'm guessing she's less than 6 months of age since she's in puppy classes. You don't use shock collars on puppies, you can do a lot more harm than good, especially if you've never used one before and haven't studied its proper use.

It sounds like you have a fairly normal pup, maybe a bit more "bratty" than most, but this could improve a lot with time, maturity, and training. Don't give up on her yet. I'll hold more comments until after I know her actual age.
 

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Mine was difficult to potty train..she wasn't completely potty trained until she was about 6.5-7 months. It drove me nuts, she would go right in front of me. I would go in my room and throw a tantrum:eek:. I started the whole process all over again with some good advice from people on here and once I learned more about her and took the time to really get to know her, she became the best dog in the world. Most of the errors in training are human, so thats where it starts. Physical and mental exercise are a must. I used pretty much all positive training with mine, she does have a prong, but she has only worn it like 3 times. Before you think about giving her back, read what you wrote about her temperament. That is what is really important and most of the time nothing you do can change that, but everything else you mentioned can be trained. If you weigh the pros/cons, you have a good dog and everything will come together if you work at it.
 

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After growing up with two Shepherds as a kid, we broke down and got one.
you're lucky, i grew up with no dogs. but even an ignorant moron like me knows not to put a shock collar on a 4 month old dog or expect my dog to be fully potty trained.

everything i know about raising a GSD, i learn from this forum. Use the "search" function to learn. bunch of good info on this site.

When i got my GSD, i was already prepared and expected what a GSD puppy should be.

I had no problem about potty training, crate training, biting cause i already know what to expect. READ this forum, plenty of info. Use the "search" function before you ask questions.


I didn't think anything until I took her to puppy class and the teacher said, "At this point no one should have any accidents" and everybody in the class except for me claimed that their pup was housebroken.
i would've said, "yes, my pup is housebroken, he goes to the restroom and flash the toilet everytime he goes, i'm just mad sometimes because he uses too much toilet paper".

As for the shock collar, I don't want to have to resort to it and right now I can't afford it, but I will have to do something if she can't learn to do what I say for her own good. My dad told me to be careful, because he used a prong collar on our big male and regrets it in retrospect, says it will break her spirit, but after the crap she's put us through a little spirit breaking might be what's in order.
lol, why blame the dog? if you can't take it, you shouldnt have gotten a dog! you should've done your research before you got one!
 

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Your past dogs may have been easy, or maybe you don't really remember them being this "bad"? :)

You have a 4 month old tazmanian devil:) I read your other thread to. It sounds and I may be wrong, that you don't really like this devil dog much?

I think you need to really be realistic with yourself and your wife to, and ask yourself, if your willing to go the distance ? Is she to much work for you? Are you to frustrated with it all? Are you prepared to keep on training and working on your bond with this puppy?

If no, I say return the puppy to the breeder NOW, while she is still young and can be very easily placed with a family /person who can handle her.

She may just very well not be a good fit for you / wife? She may be to much dog for you?

I can't answer these questions, I can only say that from your posts, it just doesn't sound like you like her much, that she is frustrating the heck out of you all, and your tired of dealing with potty accidents and disobedience.

I would NEVER consider a shock collar for a 4 month old puppy or any puppy under a year old, nor a prong collar.

It may be that she isn't a good fit for your family..
 
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